Masculinity and Mental Health - No Comment

Glenn Ricketts

A columnist for the UMass/Amherst Daily Collegian recently posted a piece about the crisis of traditional masculinity which, he argues, is very bad for a man's mental health:

Men’s assumed and undeserving position in society is coming at a huge cost to our health. The performance of hegemonic masculinity is forcing men of all races, classes and education to sacrifice their mental and physical health.

The universty is aware of the  problem, and has provided help through its health services via Phallacies, a program for assisting men burdened by their masculinity.

But the writer has also taken a proactive approach to the crisis beyond just producing opinion pieces. During this past spring semester he offered a course, “Mosaics in Masculinity” (syllabus here), sponsored by the university’s Women’s Studies Department, with the following objectives:

Learning Outcomes: Masculinity is a powerful and vulnerable identity with both positive and negative affects [sic] on society. Through an introductory understanding of Western hegemonic masculinity and the many variations of the ways boys are socialized to become “men” students will learn how men can become leaders and participants in the feminist movement and set a positive stage for the next generation. Some specific  components of the course will be able to understand and explain the intersectionality of race, class, and gender within the social construction of masculinity. By bringing in wide ranging subjects relating to masculinity, students will be able to piece together the ever-changing mosaics of masculinity. Throughout the course, contemporary readings will take students into the inner workings of boyhood and manhood. The end of the course will use the pop culture icon Fight Club, both movie and book, to analyze the internal and intersections of the destructive consequences of performing masculinity.

It isn’t clear at present whether the course is being considered as a possible Gen Ed requirement.

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